Breaking: NANS factions sheathe swords, fix May 3rd for unity convention

From left: Aruna Kadiri and Chinonso Obasi

The two factions of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), have agreed to put their differences aside and hold a unity  convention in the interest of Nigerian students.

The two factions led by Mr Chinonso Obasi, and Mr Aruna kadiri, after a conciliatory meeting on Tuesday in Abuja, fixed May 3 to May 5, for the NANS 2018 convention, at a yet to be announced venue.

A resolution signed by Obasi and Kadiri, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the parties agreed to set up convention planning committee.

The resolution said that the duo would henceforth be addressed as co-presidents, pending the emergence of new NANS leadership.

“We resolved to constitute a 60-man Convention Planning Committee (CPC), with the existing Kadiri’s list with an amended Obasi’s list, bringing in a co-chairman and co-secretary.

“Henceforth, the supporters of Kadiri, and Obasi, must abide by the resolutions and abstain from using foul language on one another,’’ the resolution stated.

Obasi was elected NANS President on July 19, 2016, at a convention held at Patani Stadium, Gombe, while Kadiri emerged President at a parallel convention, held on Sept. 4,  2016 at Old Parade Ground, Abuja.

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Buhari appoints Keyamo as 2019 campaign spokesperson

Festus Keyamo, spokespersons of Buhari campaign

Human rights lawyer Festus Keyamo has been appointed as the Director, Strategic Communications (Official Spokesperson) for the President’s 2019 Presidential Campaigns.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) confirmed the appointment in his twitter handle on Tuesday.

He said: “I will be making a formal statement on this much later.’’

The letter of appointment was signed on April 16, 2018 by transport minister Rotimi Amaechi who is also the Director General of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Campaign Organisation.

Shortly before travelling to UK last week on April 9, Buhari told a meeting of the National Executive Committee of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that he would seek a re-election in 2019.

While receiving the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby in London Wednesday, President Buhari said explained why he was seeking a re-election,.

“I declared before leaving home because Nigerians were talking too much about whether I would run or not. So, I felt I should break the ice.

“We have many things to focus on, like security, agriculture, economy, anti-corruption, and many others. We needed to concentrate on them, and politics should not be a distraction. The majority of Nigerians appreciate what we are doing, and that is why I am re-contesting.”

The President unveiled some successes of the administration to his guest, with whom he has built a deep friendship in recent times, and was quite particular about strides in agriculture.

“We have cut the importation of rice by about 90%, saving billions of dollars in the process. People who rushed into petrol money have now gone back to agriculture. Even professionals have gone back to the land. Nigeria should be able to feed itself comfortably soon. I am so pleased,” the President said.

On the war against insurgency, he stressed the need for continuous education of the people, “so that they can be free from religious manipulation,” adding that no true religion advocates the hurting or killing of the innocent.

Responding to his guest’s comment on the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of Nigeria, the President submitted:

“The problem is even older than us. It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region.

“These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gadaffi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram. Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons.

“The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions.”

President Buhari lamented that “irresponsible politics” has been brought into the farmers/herders’ crisis, but assured that enduring solutions would be found, and justice done to all concerned.

Falae: Why I visited Obasanjo

Falae, middle, with Obasanjo, left in Abeokuta today

By Olawale Jokotoye/Abeokuta

The Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae, on Tuesday visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to discuss, what he called, the  affairs of the nation.

The meeting, which held behind closed doors at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), lasted for about two hours.

Falae, who addressed newsmen after the meeting, dismissed rumours that he had gone to consult with Obasanjo over his (Falae) presidential ambition.

Falae tells newsmen his mission to Abeokuta

“The affairs of Nigeria are greater than the political ambition of anybody.

“I am here to exchange views with Baba Obasanjo on the affairs of Nigeria.

“Once upon a time, between 1977 and 1979, I worked with him when he was the Military Head of State as a Permanent Secretary.

“We did many things in those days to advance the cause of Nigeria.

“The way things are in Nigeria now, I feel the need to exchange views with him towards the progress of Nigeria,’’ he said.

The SDP chieftain said he was sure that many right-thinking Nigerians would see “the need for all of us to work together to ensure that there is a good, beneficial, peaceful and progressive change in Nigeria’’.

Falae described President Muhammadu Buhari as a friend, recalling his support for him (Buhari) during the 2011 polls.

“President Buhari is my friend and I remember how I supported him and raised his hands at Adamasingba Stadium in Ibadan, Oyo State where I asked people to vote for him because he said he would restructure Nigeria.’’

Falae  then was a member of the Alliance for Democracy. Along  with Action Congress of Nigeria and other opposition parties, the parties entered discussions with Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change to form a mega party to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party. The alliance did not work.

Falae  said Buhari remained his friend, but registered his displeasure over his administration’s failure to restructure Nigeria and to deliver on his campaign promises.

In 2015, Falae did not support Buhari’s presidential ambition as his Social Democratic Party supported Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party. The SDP received N100 million from the PDP as logistics fund for the support.

Tinubu: Jonathan’s government committed the worst plunder of Nigeria

Tinubu: accuses Jonathan, other administrations for the plundering of Nigeria

By Akeem Abas

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Leader of the  All Progressives Congress(APC) has again blamed past civilian administrations, especially the Jonathan government,  for the nation’s economic woes.

Tinubu spoke at the 35th annual Aminu Kano Memorial Symposium, held in Kano on Tuesday. He was represented by Governor Abiola Ajimobi.

Other speakers at the event were Mr Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher of Premium Times, and a stalwart of the APC, Dr. Usman Bugaje.

The speakers examined `Democratic governance in Nigeria and the imperatives of party ideology and supremacy’.

Tinubu said that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan was the worst culprit in the pillaging of the nation’s resources.

He attributed the country’s current infrastructural deficit to the billions stolen by the past governments.

The APC national leader said that the present government under President Muhammadu Buhari had in the past three years been labouring hard to clean the rot and give the people a new lease of life.

“The APC government may, at times, be imperfect in fulfilling the spirit of Aminu Kano but we are far from the PDP, which has perfected the malign craft of giving selfish ambition primacy over the public good.

“Consequently, the Buhari government has spent inordinate time cleaning the rot and plugging the holes in the corrupt system they institutionalised as their strategic policy and national direction.

“The APC has been working to steer our national ship from this awful direction in order that we may bring the people and their welfare into safe harbour,’’ he said.

Tinubu said the billions of dollars and trillions of Naira stolen by past governments if used for the people, would have transformed the nation.acc

According to him, “the stolen money would have acquired the infrastructure and implement the programmes that bring greater development and economic justice to all.

“Instead, the select few ate more than their bellies could contain. Distorting the cause of justice and hijacking the means of national welfare.

“They wildly enriched themselves and left the average Nigerian to dine on the passing wind.”

He stated that the ruling government had less resources at his disposal than its predecessors due to the drop in oil prices, but have done more with the less it has.

The APC national leader said the theme of the symposium was apt and timely, commending the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training and Bayero University for the initiative.

Tinubu described Aminu Kano as a great man that could have lived an easy life by exploiting, for selfish objectives all the opportunities opened to him.

“Instead, he devoted himself to the welfare of the people. He took the harder path because it was the true and correct one.  As Aminu Kano did, we must do!

“The spirit of this great man must guide more than our deliberations here today. That spirit must direct our political intercourse and actions,’’ he said.

In his paper, Bugaje raised a few posers such as the difference between power and authority, legality and legitimacy, as well as eligibility and sustainability.

He argued that it was possible to have power without having authority, adding that it was also possible to be eligible, but not suitable for a given position or office.

“In order to succeed, he said a leader must be knowledgeable, courageous and selfless. A leader must be like a shepherd who leads his cattle to a place of pasture and a good place where they can graze,’’ Bugaje said.

In his own presentation, Olorunyomi stressed the need for the country to be in accord and be united in purpose.

He said that Rwanda, in spite of challenges it recently went through was able to bounce back into a unified entity where law and order reigned, adding such was achieved through unity of purpose.

Obasanjo winning it for Buhari

ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo winning the 2019 election for President Buhari


By Duro Onabule

With barely a year to the presidential election and until a while ago, beyond speculations and perhaps clamour for particular favourites, we never knew the aspirants. But, more out of arrogance and jealousy, former President Olusegun Obasanjo (already) descended on those he diagnosed should forget the elections. Jealousy? That is deplorable enough. Yet, we must add envy to Obasanjo’ reasons for his self-imposed political obstruction.

In his Christmas message to Nigerians in 1962, Nnamdi Azikiwe, as Governor-General, described envy as a more deadly disease than jealousy. We now know reason(s) for Zik’s observation.

Jealousy is the exhibition of inferiority complex of a desperation to preserve a presumed personal distinction. With that status, envy sets in at the slightest seeming or real prospect of that distinction being equalled or challenged. Most frighteningly, when envy develops, no holds are barred. Hence, the deadliness of envy.

Obasanjo seems to be more disturbed by the candidacy of President Muhammadu Buhari, such that within two months, he (Obasanjo) has assailed the man twice even though the sum total cannot be appropriated to more than once. Largely diminished by the hypocrisy of a man who only failed in his attempt to rule for life after the constitutional limit of two terms, now waging war on another man to go home after only one term, Obasanjo’s notorious letter to that effect failed to impact as much as he expected.

Part of the reason for that abysmal failure was that Buhari directed his men to treat Obasanjo’s unprovoked war with total contempt and it worked. Within weeks, Nigerians seemed to have forgotten everything about him while, in contrast, the tide turned in favour of Buhari as his major constituencies all condemned Obasanjo and embraced Buhari all over for a second term even when he had not yet expressed interest.

 

Except for the overzealousness of security agencies in causing avoidable traffic inconvenience for residents, the Lagos show, clearly much to Obasanjo’s chagrin, served as APC’s fitting response to unite behind Buhari for the 2019 elections

 

 

Obviously enjoying the backlash (trailing Obasanjo), Buhari gained renewed confidence to attend official engagements at home and abroad and also stole the show at social functions involving his close political associates like state governors and the colloquium marking Bola Tinubu’s birthday in Lagos. Except for the overzealousness of security agencies in causing avoidable traffic inconvenience for residents, the Lagos show, clearly much to Obasanjo’s chagrin, served as APC’s fitting response to unite behind Buhari for the 2019 elections

That bit was one with which Obasanjo never reckoned and, instantly, his frustration at the failure to politically cut down Buhari was discernible. In the midst of some “not too young” who solicited his support at Abeokuta, Obasanjo’s performance to resuscitate his war on Buhari against the 2019 elections was pathetic. The normally boisterous former President in television accounts of his audience with the young lads was incoherent, jerky, occasionally lost in thought, struggling for ideas, scratching his head and lacking in confidence.

Like a boxing champion defending his title and finding his challenger dazed, Buhari chose that moment to land the knockout blow as he announced his intention to run in 2019. Stunned, it’s been total silence from Obasanjo since then.

For the 2019 presidential election, Buhari was to face the strongest opposition from People’s Democratic Party, the political platform on which Obasanjo ruled for eight years as elected President. But for some unknown reasons, Obasanjo dismissed the same PDP, no matter the presidential candidate, as no substitute for APC. Obasanjo, thereby, enhanced the 2019 race for Buhari. In return, the PDP hierarchy is more bitter with Obasanjo than with Buhari. And most unusually with presidential elections not too far away, traditional rulers in the South West have been awarding pass mark to Buhari, an implied rebuff for Obasanjo.

There are certain misconceptions about Obasanjo, which are always cited as justification for his intermittent outbursts against other prominent Nigerians. Obasanjo is passionate about Nigeria? Only to the extent of running down contemporaries to enhance his own interests as he feels threatened. The truth, therefore, is that Obasanjo is passionate about himself. Those he had run down in the past were Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Shehu Shagari, Muhammadu Buhari (as military ruler), Ibrahim Babangida (as military ruler), Sani Abacha (as military ruler), Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and now Buhari again.

Obasanjo once publicly demanded of General Yakubu Gowon what the latter forgot in government to make him desire to contest presidential election. Yet the same Obasanjo not only turned round to contest the presidency but also unsuccessfully tried his luck as life president of Nigeria. Was that his passion for Nigeria? Even before President Yar’Adua took ill and died, Obasanjo already commenced running him down in world media merely because he would not allow Obasanjo to run government for him. If, therefore, Yar’Adua had survived and, as of right, tried to seek a second term, Obasanjo would have opposed him. And, of course, Obasanjo opposed the re-election of Jonathan. Is that being passionate about Nigeria?

There is the other most laughable impression that Obasanjo has such electoral or political influence to determine anybody’s political survival. Hence the young ones now dancing round Obasanjo in the hope he can get them elected as President, senators and governors.

Except as incumbent President who rigged his re-election for a second term in 2003, when, out of power, did Obasanjo ever succeed in personal aspiration for power even as a military officer? By the way, former American President Jimmy Carter, a major international observer for the 2003 re-election of Obasanjo, stood out as a Baptist clergy, and refused to sign the election result on the ground that the election was not free and fair. Also, as outgoing President in 2007, Obasanjo manipulated the PDP constitution to make only himself (as a former elected President) automatically eligible as chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees with more sweeping powers than the part’y’s national chairman. As soon as Obasanjo left Aso Rock, the PDP hierarchy called an emergency meeting with final plans to remove him as chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees. Obasanjo immediately resigned with the questionable claim that he was no longer in politics. He could not save himself.

How much did Obasanjo contribute to Jonathan’s defeat or Buhari’s victory in 2015? Virtually nothing. Jonathan lost major block constituency in the North because he allegedly did not honour what must have been a gentleman’s agreement of 2011 to return the presidency to the north in 2015. Jonathan demanded any documented agreement he signed to that effect. The North broke from PDP, leaving Jonathan electorally stranded with the key to Aso Rock easily available for Buhari, especially with his overwhelming popularity in the North, coupled with home delivery of South West votes by the Bola Tinubu’s political caterpillar.

How much did Obasanjo contribute to Jonathan’s defeat or Buhari’s victory in 2015? Virtually nothing. Jonathan lost major block constituency in the North because he allegedly did not honour what must have been a gentleman’s agreement of 2011 to return the presidency to the north in 2015. Jonathan demanded any documented agreement he signed to that effect. The North broke from PDP, leaving Jonathan electorally stranded with the key to Aso Rock easily available for Buhari, especially with his overwhelming popularity in the North, coupled with home delivery of South West votes by the Bola Tinubu’s political caterpillar. As usual, Obasanjo merely jumped into Buhari’s bandwagon of a “sure banker” winning candidate to bask in the man’s glory. Better still, Obasanjo can test his current anti-Buhari campaigns for the 2019 presidential elections away from Abeokuta to Ekiti, Ibadan, Ogbomoso, Lagos, Wushishi, Gwandu, Maiduguri, Biu. Kaura Namoda, Sokoto, Kano even Onitsha, Enugu-Port Harcourt road. Rail lines being constructed from Lagos to Ibadan, Lagos to Abeokuta, Lagos to Port Harcourt, Kano to Katsina, etc. A trip along the yet-to-be-completed Lagos-Ibadan expressway will educate him on the difference between his eight-year “no show” and Buhari’s barely three years of purposeful governance. That is the gap winning the showdown for Buhari.

Even as a military officer, his junior lieutenants pampered Obasanjo throughout his career up to Aso Rock. Read General Alabi Isama’s memoirs. After the nullification of the June 1993 elections and Bashorun Abiola’s death, the gang of four, former President Ibrahim Babangida, ex-Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar, ex-army chiefs General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma and General Aliyu Gusau, imposed Obasanjo on Nigeria as an elected President, even in violation of PDP’s constitution that an aspiring presidential candidate must initially win the primaries in local government ward. Obasanjo lost his ward but still was forced on the party by the army generals, who catapulted him to the presidency.

A final example to show that only while in office could Obasanjo display some power. In contrast to the fact that, after leaving Aso Rock, he could not sustain himself as self-imposed chairman of PDP’s Board of Trustees, the same Obasanjo, throughout his eight-year tenure, appointed and removed the party’s national chairman as he fancied. He removed the only elected national chairman who, ironically, oversaw the party’s national convention, which violated the party’s constitution to earn him the nomination, late Solomon Lar. Within a few months, Obasanjo replaced Lar with Bernabas Gemade, who did not last, as he was replaced with Vincent Ogbulafor. Humiliated out of office, Ogbulafor gave way to Audu Ogbeh as the new PDP national chairman, who would not play ball for Obasanjo’s third term agenda. The final choice after Ogbeh, fell on retired Col. Ahmadu All. With a bogus electoral or political value of their mentor, aspiring members of the so-called third force will eventually discover that they are on a journey to nowhere.

Overall, Nigerians are being told that the first is not good, the second is a non-starter and yet there is no alternative. Such lack of seriousness was the major reason Buhari was being asked by Obasanjo not to contest the 2019 elections. So ridiculous!.

*Chief Duro Onabule, veteran journalist and editor is a  columnist for The Sun  newspaper.

2019 elections: statistician predicts high inflation

statistician

By Cecilia Ologunagba

A statistician, Dr Olatunji Arowolo, says the country may experience high inflation rate due to demand and spending pattern as it prepares for the 2019 elections.

Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices of goods and services is rising, and consequently the rate at which the purchasing power of currency is falling.

Arowolo, a lecturer at the Statistics Department, Lagos State Polytechnic, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, that demand pattern would likely cause changes in prices of goods and services.

He said people would envisage scarcity of some goods, and thereby, tend to produce in large quantities ahead of the elections and hoard them.

“This causes artificial scarcity and demand will be higher than supply, thereby causing general rise in the prices of these goods in particular and other goods and services in general.

“’Example is petrol. If there is hike in the price of petrol, it can lead to rise in other goods and services.’’

Arowolo, also a National Secretary of the Nigerian Statistical Association, said that the situation would cause chain effects as well.

He said farmers would spend more to transport the goods to the market which would cause the market women to add more money to the prices of goods.

“This is because market women pay for education service for their children and teachers in turn would demand higher pay and the cycle continues.’’

In addition, he said people tend to buy more and store them to reduce the risk of going to the market during election period, saying “this mentality is common to many, thereby, making goods to be scarce at that point.’’

Arowolo, however, said that the present inflation figures did not reflect a better standard of living for Nigerians.

Nigeria’s inflation rate measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) dropped from 14.33 in February to 13.34 per cent in March year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The bureau stated that the figure showed 14 consecutive reductions in inflation rate since January 2017.

According to the bureau, the figure is 0.99 per cent points less than the 14. 33 per cent recorded in February.

Arowolo said the figure did not reflect a better standard of living because the prices of goods and services in reality did not decrease as reported by the CPI.

“CPI of 13.34 per cent year-on-year means that there is general rise in the prices of goods and services by 13.34 per cent from one year to another from the period under review.

“This means that on the average, the prices of goods and services reduced 0.99 per cent on monthly basis from January 2017 to February 2018,’’ he said. (NAN)

Theresa May, Trump not invited to Prince Harry’s wedding

Donald Trump and Theresa May : not invited by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to wedding

US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May have not been invited to the wedding of Prince Harry and US actress Meghan Markle, British media reported on Tuesday.

Contacted by AFP, a spokesman for Kensington Palace, the prince’s official residence, said: “It has been decided that an official list of political leaders — both UK and international — is not required for Prince Harry and Ms. Markle’s wedding”.

Then prime minister David Cameron was invited to the 2011 wedding of Harry’s brother Prince William, who is second in line to the throne after their father Prince Charles.

Harry’s place in the line of succession makes this wedding less politically significant and the couple have instead invited youth workers and military veterans to attend.

Harry is fifth in line to the throne and will soon find himself in sixth place after William’s wife Kate gives birth as expected later this month.

Kensington Palace also said on Tuesday that 2,640 people would be invited on the day into the grounds of Windsor Castle, where the couple will be married in St George’s Chapel on May 19.

Of those, 1,200 have been picked out by royal officials from around the country and the remainder will be members of the public, guests from charities associated with the couple.

Among the invitees is 30-year-old Philip Gillespie, a military veteran who lost his right leg in an explosion in Afghanistan and was a participant in the Invictus Games for wounded service personnel, which Harry founded.

Another is Rosie Ginday, 34, the founder of “Miss Macaroon”, a charity that provides culinary training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged young people in Birmingham.

Twelve-year-old Amelia Thompson who was caught up in last year’s Manchester Arena terror attack in which 23 people were killed and hundreds more injured, is also on the list.

The invitees will be able to watch the arrivals of the bride and groom and their wedding guests at the chapel and the carriage procession as it departs from the castle after the service.